Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What I Learn While I Play part 2

When I Play with Playdoh I am Learning...
  • to see the shape against the background of the table, a reading skill
  • concepts of shape, length, height, and size
  • to see negative space when cookie cutter shapes are taking away
  • to express feelings when squeezing and pounding
  • to exercise my imagination and creativity
  • that the amount of a substance remains the same even when the shape changes.

When I Play with Scissors I am Learning...
  • to control the small muscles of my hand
  • concepts of shape, size, color, and location
  • to exercise my imagination and creativity

When I Play with Pegboards I am Learning...
  • one-to-one correspondence, an essential math concept
  • to make and repeat patterns
  • creativity and self expression
  • concepts of addition as I add one piece at a time
  • colors
  • symmetry, shapes, order, and design
  • eye-hand coordination, a writing skill

When I Sort Things I am Learning...
  • to notice details, likenesses, and differences in objects
  • to form categories, an essential concept for reading and math
  • concepts of color, size, and shape
  • numerical concepts of more or less
  • logical reasoning

For a Rainy (or Snowy) Day

Here are some fun things to do on a rainy or snowy or frigid day when you just can't get outside.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fun Project with Kids

You can make your own lacing beads using a super easy clay recipe. You will need:
1 cup of salt
1 cup of corn starch
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of water (added in small increments)
You will also need:
plastic straws
wax paper
cookie sheets
tempera paint
paint brushes

You will start by putting the salt ... flour .... and cornstarch in a bowl. Add small amounts of water to the mixture until you are able to knead the dough into a ball. You need to be careful with the amount of water you put in ... too much will make it to sticky and too little will make it dry and crack. It is important that you advise children that this is not a dough for eating.

After you have the dough in the right consistency break off small pieces and roll into balls. Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper.

Push a straw into the center of each dough ball making sure the straw goes through to the other side. Let dry (the time it will take to dry the beads depends on the size of the beads ... usually 48-72 hours). You will need to flip the bead over periodically so both the top and the bottom of the beads get exposed to air.

Once the beads are dry you can paint them with tempera paint. Paint one side at a time and let dry. You can string the beads with laces ... or use them for sorting and making patterns. Use your imagination and have fun!!

Pre-Writing Practice

The following link is a file you can print to have for your child to practice pre-writing skills. Print on cardstock if you have it. laminate or cover with contact paper so that they are re-usable.

This is a great way to develop fine motor skills in preparation for writing. We punched holes in ours and attached them together with a metal book ring. For the first few times using the skill cards children traced the dashed lines with their finger ... they were then given write-on wipe-off markers (dry erase markers) to trace the dashed lines with.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Picky Eaters

Do you have a picky eater or multiple picky eaters who all eat different things? Here is a fun and inventive solution to getting your kids to try new things.

Muffin Tin Mondays

Here is a link to the blog where I found this great idea! Muffin Tin Meals I've tried this with my own picky eating 4 year old and I was amazed at how well it worked. We've done two Mondays so far and I'm having fun with it. It is fun to try and see what creative ways I can get my daughter to eat the foods I know she needs. That doesn't mean I have stopped pureeing veggies and slipping them into the spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, pizza sauce, meatloaf......

Start out by getting some 6 cup muffin tins. You can find these at the dollar store. If you want quick and easy clean up you can use muffin cups. There are many fun paper liners that would go along with color or character themes. You can also get silicone muffin liners that would be re-usable and more earth friendly.

Michael's and Jo Ann's usually have 40% and 50% coupons weekly or every other week, check those out before going to buy supplies!

Now, you can use the themes on the website or come up with your own. For instance, today's theme is Valentine's Day so you'd find red or pink or heart shaped foods/drink and put a small amount of food in each cup of your tin. Another theme would be "Big/Little" so you'd find big and little foods: mini pickles, sizes of goldfish, mini and large marshmallows big and little carrots...." Use your themes and expand them through the day. If you have a big/little theme then while playing in your home or out doing errands see how many big and little things you can find.
Here's a "healthy foods" theme

Do a color theme, how many green foods can you find? How many orange or brown or blue or..... You can see where the possibilities are endless. Do a shape theme, cut your foods into circles or triangles or....  Ok, I guess I could go on and on and on so I'm going to stop now. :)  Have fun with this, I know I'm going to!

Don't have muffin tins or don't want to go out and buy them? See what you have in your cupboards at home:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What I Learn While Playing (part 1)

What looks to many adults like simple fun and games is actually focused, purposeful, and thoughtful learning. Below you will find a number of the things your child learns while "playing" at different activities.

When I Paint I am Learning...
  • to develop my imagination and creativity
  • hand eye coordination, a pre-writing skill
  • the names of colors and how to make new colors
  • to distinguish and purposely create shapes
  • to notice patterns, a pre-reading skill
  • to express my feelings and ideas
  • that my ideas have value
  • relationships of space and size, necessary for mathematics
  • concepts of symmetry, balance and design

When I Scribble I and Draw I am Learning...
  • to hold and control a pencil or other writing instrument
  • hand-eye coordination
  • to exercise my creativity and imagination
  • that my ideas have value
  • concepts of color, shapes, size and location
  • to express myself with words that describe my drawing

When I String Beads I am Learning...
  • hand-eye coordination
  • concepts of color, shape, and location
  • math concepts such as "more", "less", "longer" and "shorter"
  • pride in accomplishment

When I Play with Glue and Collage Materials I am Learning...
  • to exercise my imagination and creativity
  • concepts of shape, size, location, and design - relevant to learning to read
  • about things that have different textures
  • how to create patterns and designs, a math skill
  • to distinguish positive and negative space, a reading skill

WOW!! Did you know your kids learned so much without us even being aware of it?